Acer Inc (宏碁) is working on commercializing its artificial intelligence (AI) technology and hopes the business will start contributing to revenue in the first half of the year.
In the long term, the company expects AI to become a new growth catalyst, Acer chief executive officer Jason Chen (陳俊聖) said.
“AI and deep learning technologies will be one of Acer’s main focuses for long-term development, given their wide range of applications in everyday life,” Chen said.
Acer is in talks with a local firm to commercialize its AI technology for transportation-related applications, and may work with the government to apply the technology toward easing urban traffic, he said.
Chen declined to elaborate on the traffic app, but said Acer plans to expand the scale of its AI and deep learning team this year by recruiting more engineers and sending employees to the University of Southern California to join the school’s AI technology research team.
Chen’s optimism in AI is greater than its likely revenue contribution, as the business is just starting in Taiwan.
The PC business, including desktop and notebook computers, still accounted for 76 percent of Acer’s total sales as of the third quarter last year, according to a company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange.
Acer has not yet released its financial results for last quarter.
The company is likely to post a deficit for last year due to a one-time loss of NT$6.34 billion (US$204 million) from intangible asset impairment, which in December the company said would reduce its earnings per share by NT$2.06 for last year.
The company’s cumulative earnings per share in the first three quarters of last year totaled NT$0.28.
Chen said the growth momentum of Acer’s Chromebooks, thin and light notebooks, two-in-one detachable notebooks and gaming PCs would continue this year.
The company recently secured a high-performance computer project and has obtained the price negotiation priority right for six other projects, he said.
Meanwhile, Acer founder Stan Shih (施振榮) yesterday said Acer’s board of directors is to elect Chen as chairman next month when incumbent chairman George Huang (黃少華) announces his retirement.
Chen will also double as Acer’s chief executive officer for “at least” three years, Shih said, adding that his son, Maverick Shih (施宣輝), who leads Acer’s Build Your Own Cloud businesses and smart devices business, will not join the board this year.
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